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Matters of evidence and documentation have additionally complicated this subject.In this case the key date is 1991, as that is when the collapse of the Soviet Union finally made many important Russian archives available to scholars for the first time.
For these reasons Western scholarship on the Russian Revolution has had an element of contentiousness not often seen in other fields.
That, in turn, is why any serious student of the Russian Revolution must be familiar with its historiography, and why this article not only contains a major section on historiography but also includes historiographic commentary in many of the individual entries.
The term Russian Revolution itself refers to two upheavals that took place in 1917: the February Revolution and the October, or Bolshevik, Revolution.
The former was a spontaneous uprising that began in Russia’s capital in late February 1917 and led to the collapse of the tsarist monarchy and the establishment of the Provisional Government, a regime based on the premise that Russia should have a parliamentary government and free-enterprise economic system.
This significant development is covered in the Published Documentary Collections section of this article.
Although all of the volumes listed in this section can be called general overviews, they vary considerably in their structure and approach.According to the Gregorian calendar, the two revolutions took place in March and November, respectively.) Because the Bolsheviks did not consolidate their power until their victory in a three-year civil war, many histories ostensibly about the “Russian Revolution” include not only the events of 1917 but also their immediate aftermath in early 1918, and then the civil war, which began in mid-1918 and lasted until 1921.That framework has been adopted for this article as well.Pipes 1996 provides a broad narrative in the condensation of two large volumes on this subject, and provides a view that is highly critical of the Bolshevik regime.Fitzpatrick 1982 is an interpretive essay sympathetic to the Bolshevik regime and adopts a framework that extends to 1932.The latter took place in late October and was the seizure of power by a militant Marxist political party determined to rule alone, turn Russia into a communist society, and spark a worldwide revolution.(These dates are according to the outdated Julian calendar in use in Russia at the time, which trailed the Gregorian calendar used in the West by thirteen days.more This article is part of our series of explainers on key moments in the past 100 years of world political history.In it, our authors examine how and why an event unfolded, its impact at the time, and its relevance to politics today.It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science.The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner.